By Jacquie Boyd-Coleman

Whether we like it or not, the “New Year, New You” trend is going nowhere. It’s a staple of the health marketing calendar and something that’s much beloved by newspapers, magazines and websites in those chilly days of January before the world gets going again.

We work with quite a few brands that always look at the “New Year, New You” market as a key time. Getting fit and losing weight are two of the most regularly made New Year’s resolutions, and companies in the health, beauty and lifestyle sector know there’s money to be made there and ramp up their health PR campaign.

Deadlines for all the monthly magazines due out in January are long past – but there are still opportunities for brands to make an impact in national newspapers as they head towards the chillier of the year’s two silly seasons. Late December and early January are key times to be selling in those health and fitness stories.

Our advice to clients is that they have to have a great story to claim that coverage, though, because the market is saturated. If you’re a supplements brand, for instance, it’s not Holland & Barrett you’re fighting for space – you’re taking on the folk at Garmin with their fitness trackers, the diet clubs, the gyms touting their latest fitness craze, not to mention the beauty brands out to restore your complexion after the “festive excess”.

Need an outstanding health PR campaign

There are so many brands chasing the same space, so your health PR campaign has to be outstanding or it won’t get traction. If you’re reading this looking for ideas of what that could be for your brand, chances are you’re already too late – it’s less than three weeks until Christmas and those features desks will already be planning ahead for their time off, with staffing levels halved.

That said, there are still health marketing opportunities further into January, with Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year – one of the big hooks for stories. So how do you succeed when there’s competition from literally hundreds of health and lifestyle brands?

By getting creative. You need a simple idea that everybody immediately gets. If you have to explain it, it’s wrong. Start with a human truth – what’s the problem people face, and how does your product or service solve it? What you’re hunting for is an “ah moment”, something that makes you say: “Ah! That’s a great idea.”

You need a simple solution, an easy way for people to achieve the change they want in their life. You’ve missed the mark if you’re not saying “Ah!”

It’s also important to remember that a story about health isn’t just for the health section. It could be a news story, a lifestyle feature, something for the women’s section or even appeal to the beauty editor. There is such a crossover between health, beauty and lifestyle now it leaves options open for a health PR campaign to exploit.

Journalists crying out for case studies

One of the tactics that works best for the nationals is the case study – particularly the transformation story. Journalists love stories of how someone’s life has been saved or changed by simple actions – think how many before-and-after slimmer stories you’ve leafed through over the years.

If you can combine a life-changing case study with some great photos, a comment from a brand spokesman and – ideally – some video footage, you’re set up for a double-hitter, in print and online. And if the case study is strong enough, it’s not many steps from the Daily Mail’s health pages to the This Morning couch, along a path that’s well-trodden.

The reason this tried and tested health marketing technique works is that we buy into others’ experiences far more readily than what a brand spokesman says. You’ll try something based on a personal recommendation that you might have ignored adverts about.

So to succeed, get creative, get simple, and get personal.

We know health communications inside out. To speak to the health marketing experts, call us on 0800 612 9890.